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Make sure your business mentor is the right match

(NC) When a young person decides to start their own business, they usually have an idea that consumes their daily thoughts and energy. People say that they have a fire in their belly, yet there are so many things to consider, starting with: Is there a market for the product or service? Do I have the skills to be successful? Where will the start-up money come from?

All of these questions can be answered readily by the Canadian Youth Business Foundation. With extensive resources, CYBF can help with developing a business plan, doing market research, and providing access to financing. Most importantly, its programs match young entrepreneurs with business mentors for up to two years. A good mentor match “is the secret sauce” they say, and it's this added ingredient that matters the most.

Finding the right mentor is a bit like online dating, but much less intimidating, participants say. After matching over 6,000 mentors and entrepreneurs in the past 16 years, CYBF says it knows what to look for in a mentor and this includes people with experience in everything from human resource management, to financial literacy. This matching process also takes account of the unique needs of entrepreneurs who are new to Canada.

The organization also provides the volunteer mentors with upfront counseling so they are ready to bring the best of their skills and knowledge to this important relationship. Then, an online orientation program walks the mentor and the entrepreneur through a process that helps them assess their compatibility, and their ability to work toward shared goals and a solid business plan.

Over the two-year commitment, young entrepreneurs will connect with their mentors, on average, about four to five hours a month. The resulting bond often lasts much longer.

Like a great coach, a caring parent, or a best friend, business mentors are a key factor in the business success of young entrepreneurs, and can often make all the difference to the success of a young business. More information is available online at

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